One from the family album (Samantha Meets Mocha by AMagill – CC-BY-2.0)
Shakespeare got it wrong. He might have been a great wordsmith and playwright who could look into people’s souls and see what made them tick.
But when it came to figuring out how many ages a man has it didn’t know the first thing he was talking about.
I know this because he forgot the ages of horse and dog.
Being a horse means putting my son on my shoulders and trotting around making neighing noises while he giggles away up top. The neighing noises are very important. He steers me around by pulling an ear to show which way he wants to go. If he wants to go straight he usually just beats out the clippety-clop sound of a trotting horse on my head.
Or being a horse can sometimes mean getting down on all fours while he rides my back shouting out ‘horsey, horsey’. He has to hold on very tight for this one which can result in a pinched neck. And my poor knees!
Or it can mean just trotting next to my son as we both make horsey noises. I look like a right idiot doing this in the middle of the supermarket, but at it isn’t quite so bad on my worn out knees.
My son, on the other hand, seems to think he is a dog. He will crawl around for hours on end making ‘au au‘ sounds. He says ‘au au‘ because that is the sound dogs make when they bark in Brazil. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I say ‘woof woof’ he insists on saying ‘au au‘.
To be a horse or to be a dog?
But being a boy-dog goes further than this. He sticks his tongue out and pants. He licks anything that comes anywhere near him, including floors, feet and pebbles. He puts his head in my lap, looking for strokes and for me to say ‘good dog’.
He has even started to eat like a dog, trying to eat his food without using his hands.
I don’t know what all of this means or how long it is going to last for, but if you see a child barking like a Brazilian dog sitting on the shoulders of a man trotting around and neighing, hopefully you’ll understand they are just going through the two ages of man that Shakespeare couldn’t get into his play.